Right Steps, Wrong Order
The last few weeks we’ve found ourselves lost. Completely lost. But the thing is we were doing everything right. We were working on the business, the web pages, the strategy. We met with a few clients to square things away for their upcoming weddings. But it was all wrong.
A few Saturdays ago, we were eating lunch at a little hamburger joint in town. We were laughing and having a great lunch when out of nowhere the conversation took a steep decline. I started talking about feeling lost in all of this (the business), how I didn’t know what I was doing or what I was doing it for. But I just kept on doing it because well, wasn’t that the right thing to do? We were taught as children that persistence is what brings success. I do not deny this truth, but persistence on treadmill is not the same as persistence on a road. Simply put — we were moving, but going nowhere.
We started backtracking the last month. We’d both been working very hard but when we started talking about we realized that we may have been doing things right but we were in fact doing them in the wrong order. We’d started at the bottom, instead of starting at the top of our list. Simply because the bottom part is what we are drawn to, it’s what we both like to do. Instead of working through creating a business plan (which is a beast by the way), figuring out what this whole thing called our business, we immediately delved into creating our website. We’d started branding our company and started creating a website but were lost as to what we were doing.
This is classic cart before the horse move, a move that I’m very familiar with. In fact, if anyone would like for me to write a 500 page book on putting the proverbial cart in front of the horse and then complaining about the horse not doing his job, let me know. I’ll have it to you by Monday.
Frustrated with our branding, frustrated with our progress, tears filled my eyes — where did we go wrong? My napkin turned into a tissue for my rolling tears. I didn’t really have to ask that question out loud before the answer came to both of us. And one cliche after another here, it hit us like a ton of bricks. We weren’t wrong in our actions, we just needed to slow down and start from the top. I think more than anything the beginning or top of the list is the scariest, for me anyways. It’s a list of tasks that must be accomplished one by one, the foundation to what you want to build. One time I tweeted (yes, I tweet) that I like to put things I’ve already accomplished on my to-do list, just to make myself feel better. But making my self feel better isn’t the reason we are building this business. We have a purpose that needs be fulfilled, one task at a time. I don’t know if any of you are Arrested Development fans, but you know the episode where Gob becomes president of the construction company and he wants to build a house in three weeks instead of 3 months like normal? This seems to be my business strategy most days. The faster the better! But just as Gob’s shell of a house (literally a shell) fell down, our business will too if we don’t take the time to take each step and fulfill it.
We’ve since started our first task — establishing a business plan. This is a process that neither one of us are familiar with. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Bryan looked at me the other day and said “I have no idea what I’m doing.” To which I replied “No one really does.” We must do what we know and learn the rest.
In an act of selflessness and pure empathy, I am asking you to comfort me with your own stories of the right persistence, wrong direction. If you don’t, I will just assume you really like to start at the beginning and not the end, even if it is just to make me feel better.